CNN just announced its decision to give prime time anchor Elliott Spitzer his walking papers, opening up an opportunity for the cable newser to bring what would be the only African-American host into a primetime anchor role anywhere. NAACP slammed CNN, and all of its competition, for maintaining an all-white lineup.
NAACP said that journalist of color were on the schedule during the day and over the weekend, but is dismayed that they are absent from the high-profile prime time slots.
It singled Fox out for special disparagement, saying it expected such things from that particular network.
But all news networks were roped in for criticism. NAACP stated, “Currently, there are no African American hosts or anchors on any national news show, cable or broadcast network, from the hours of 5PM-11PM. The NAACP is especially troubled because these prime time slots are among the most influential in daily news. Prime time hosts in cable often have the most latitude to express their opinions, and evening news anchors are traditionally seen as the most credible voices in weekday news broadcasts. CNN, Bloomberg News, CNBC, FOX News and MSNBC have shows scheduled every hour to discuss world news, financial news and political news, and occasionally have African American commentators, but not one show in prime time is headlined or anchored by an African American.”
NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said, “The NAACP is deeply concerned with the lack of African American journalists in prime time news, both on cable and national network news shows. In the spirit of award-winning African American journalists, from W.E.B. Dubois to Ed Bradley, the NAACP feels it is critical to bring this disparity, and the broader trend reflected in the overall lack of people of color as prime time news anchors, to the attention of the top officials at all of the major broadcast and cable news stations.”
He added, “We have come to expect this from the likes of Fox News, but not other networks. While we understand that news is now a 24-hour cycle, most Americans get their news from the morning and evening prime time broadcasts. We recognize and appreciate that MSNBC often has guest hosts like the Reverend Al Sharpton, and CNN, CBS and NBC have weekend anchors like TJ Holmes, Don Lemon, Russ Mitchell and Lester Holt. Nonetheless, we encourage all networks to acknowledge the talent that exists and to increase the diversity among their prime time anchors and hosts.”